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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Voki: On Being a Tool for School

I've often been told that my personality suits me for the role of "lifetime professional student". Granted, going for your Phd means I'll be a student until age 28 at least, but I don't think those individuals realize how correct they truly are. Though spoken in irony, a teacher really is a "lifetime professional student". I learn a lot from my students; they are constantly teaching me about my strengths, limitations, and sometimes my mannerisms, too. The most important thing they've taught me is how to include technology into my lessons.
Last year I taught three classes of introductory public speaking. Most students would rather have lemon juice poured over thousands of paper cuts than even walk into this class on the first day. To be fair, public speaking is one of the biggest fears in America. To lighten the mood, I show the plight of Dwight on the first day. I remind them that they will not sweat profusely or sound like communists (unless they want to) by the time they reach their first speaking day. I decided that YouTube clips should always make an appearance in class.
YouTube, check. What more do I need? As my students quickly pointed out, my handwriting and abrevs. are pretty horrid. I needed another way to get my class involved. I started making Voki avatars to make the class more interactive. For young speakers, and young students, self-perception is a major issue. In this lesson, I use the Avatars to represent different perceptions of the same photo.
Existence as a carbivore (living mainly on carbs) is equally cheap and delicious, but my budget is still tighter than Paris Hilton and her recent pooch. Thankfully enough, Voki is fun and free! This is my Avatar self:

1 comment:

  1. Just to add- I've recently learned that Voki will be re-launching in the fall with other Avatar-inspired lesson plans...sweet!

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